Shanghai weighs solar-energy option

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 July, 2005, 12:00am

Proposal suggests installing panels on city's rooftops

Shanghai is considering a proposal to install solar panels on the roofs of city buildings in an experimental project designed to promote the nationwide use of sustainable energy.

Sources told the South China Morning Post yesterday the programme might be introduced next year after the municipal government decides on ways to implement the Renewable Energy Law, which was passed by the National People's Congress in February.

The programme has been proposed by the Beijing office of the environmental organisation World Wide Fund for Nature.

The director of the body's climate and energy programme, Gan Lin, said the success of the programme hinged on the local government's ability to put in place policies that would support innovative energy solutions.

'Raising funds or seeking investors are not problems. Actually, there are many enterprises interested in the programme,' Mr Gan said. 'They are all ready to move if the government can speed up the drafting of new sustainable energy policies.'

He said the proposal would be completed this month and sent to the municipal government for further examination.

'Our final aim is to cut down the market share of the traditional power station, especially the coal-fired and oil-based industries, because they have dominated the energy market for too long and damaged our environment.'

The proposal had been studied by the municipal government since last year.

One of the researchers behind the proposal - Cui Rongqiang , of Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Energy Research Centre - said he was optimistic about its prospects.

'If we only use 1.5 per cent of the roofs in our city, the area is about 3 million square metres,' he told Shanghai's Wen Hui Pao. 'That could produce around 430 gigawatts each year - equivalent to 180,000 families' annual electricity consumption.'

However, the director of the China Solar Energy Association, Meng Xiantu , cautioned that while solar energy was a rapidly developing technology, there were still major issues to address before such a major project could become feasible.